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Opinion

ECOS rallies on Global Divestment Day

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February 18, 2015

On Friday, Feb. 13, UW-River Falls students rallied and created a “human mosaic” inside the University Center to raise awareness about the divestment movement.

Each student held up separate posters which spelt out “DivestRF,” a picture of the globe, and “ECOS (Environmental Corps of Sustainability),” the student organization sponsoring the event. The group chanted “Whos school? Our school. Who’s system (in reference to UW System)? Our system. Who’s planet? Our planet.” This caught the attention of all students in the University Center. Roughly 25 students and faculty were apart of the “human mosaic” at UWRF.

Fossil Free divestment campaigns all around the world were challenging the fossil fuel industry on Feb. 13-14. The action held at UWRF was just one of over 300 events taking place on six different continents. At the end of 2015, world leaders were gathering in Paris, France, with hopes to finally secure a global climate deal.

We know that due to the fossil fuel industry’s power over our government and financial markets, the necessary actions on legitimate climate change won’t happen without a strong and united voice calling for action. From workshops and sit-ins, to flash mobs and banner drops, thousands of people are coming together to bring light to the risk of continued investment in the fossil fuel industry in regards to climate change.

Scientists from NASA, the United Nations, the international panel on climate change, both the Pope and the Dalai Lama, have all stated that we have a limited time to act before the effects of climate change become even more detrimental.

In order to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency calculated that the fossil fuel industry needs to keep 80 percent of their known reserves underground, yet they continue to expand their search for more reserves.

Stopping fossil fuel infrastructure is important, as human health and environmental concerns associated with coal plant, fracking, and pipeline pollution continue to rise. While we are working to stop these destructive projects, we also need to loosen the grip that the coal, oil and gas companies have on us. In doing so, through divestment, we strengthen the chance of being able to move in the direction towards a more sustainable planet for all.

Our generation must ignite a movement that partisanship cannot defeat; that defines our generation as the one who fought for the health of our planet and the quality of life for generations to come.

Divestment campaigns within the UW System have been growing. Aside from UWRF, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Madison, UW-Eau Claire, UW-LaCrosse and UW-Oshkosh have also joined the movement. Wisconsin students are ready to push forward past fossil fuels, and into a sustainable future.

For more information on Global Divestment Day visit: http://gofossilfree.org/divestment-day. For more information about Fossil Free UWRF visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ECOS-Environmental-Corps-of-Sustainability/518769958175451?fref=photo.